Earlier this year, the Government of Canada formally extended its contract with CAE (Booth 1611) to utilise the NATO Flying Training in Canada (NFTC) programme to provide fighter aircrew for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Under the existing contract this was due to end in 2021, but the modification extends this period to 2023, with a further one-year extension as an option.
As part of the contract, CAE will not only continue to maintain the fleet of BAE Systems CT-155 Hawk and Beechcraft CT-156 Harvard aircraft, but instigate enhancements to update and upgrade the training system. These will be applied to the two CT-155 and three CT-156 flight training devices, while the aircraft themselves will receive minor upgrades and have some obsolescence issues addressed so that they can be capable of meeting training requirements and availability needs until at least the 2023-24 timeframe.
CAE acquired NFTC in October 2015, the acquisition being a significant one for the company because it marked a move into live military training. Based at CFB Cold Lake and CFB Moose Jaw, NFTC is a fully integrated training system combining live, virtual and constructive (LVC) elements to provide basic, advanced and lead-in fighter training.
Experience with this programme allowed CAE to pursue other full-spectrum training contracts, resulting in the award of the US Army’s initial entry fixed-wing training system contract to undertake training at Dothan, Alabama. e centre, which also undertakes C-12 training, was offcially opened on 6 March this year. is was followed up by the award of a contract to provide rotary-wing flight training instructor support services at the Army’s main helicopter training base at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
In the meantime, Canada is looking to implement a Future Aircrew Training system that brings together not only the elements of the syllabus conducted by NFTC, but also the primary training. Future pilot training (FPT) is expected to be implemented from 2026, possibly with an interim arrangement bridging the gap between the end of the NFTC contract and the start of FPT. As a key training partner of the Royal Canadian Air Force, CAE is naturally involved in keeping the government informed of capabilities and trends in training, as well as formulating a proposal for how a future air training system might look.
In the nearer future there are other opportunities for CAE in Canada. The requirement for Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) is still active, despite the recent extension of the existing contract with Discovery Air Defence Services. CATS covers the provision of aircraft to undertake fighter and electronic adversary missions and related tasks such as forward air controller training. CAE teamed with Draken International to bid for the contract. Although originally to have been awarded last year, the new contract is now scheduled for a decision later this year.
Canada’s CATS is just one opportunity that CAE is pursuing in partnership with Draken, the two companies having announced a worldwide teaming memorandum of understanding last July. Contractorised adversary and target facilities services are seen as a growth area for air arms around the world, with a number of key air forces employing contractorised “Red Air”. A key opportunity is the RAF’s ASDOT (Air Support to Defence Operational Training) requirement in the UK, and there are others in the Asia-Pacific region.
Further opportunities in Canada for CAE’s air training expertise include the Future Fighter and the long-running Project JUSTAS (joint uninhabited surveillance and target acquisition system) to acquire a medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned air vehicle.
For CAE this has been a sector of considerable growth, and the company is the training partner of General Atomics, which builds the Reaper and Predator UAVs.
CAE now trains about 1,500 operators and sensor operators at four sites for the US armed forces’ Predator/Reaper activities and has provided a full flight simulator to the Italian air force.
It recently won the contract to provide a UAV Training Centre to the UAE Armed Forces, which are receiving Predators, and is bidding to provide UAV training services for the RAF’s new fleet of Protector (Certifiable Predator B) remotely piloted aircraft.